Blue Economy gets $300K state boost

Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development announced a $300,000 commitment toward the effort to propel the “Blue Economy” forward at UMass Dartmouth Monday evening.

DARTMOUTH — Jay Ash, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development announced a $300,000 commitment toward the effort to propel the “Blue Economy” forward at UMass Dartmouth Monday evening.

“We all have the responsibility to embrace this effort,” Ash said. “This is our time here in southeastern Massachusetts.”

This funding follows a September $600,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, part of the Department of Commerce, to fund a multi-year project to study related industries, write a detailed plan and execute it. The latest funding commitment comes from the Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito Administration, along with legislators.

“What we’re doing is laying the foundation on solid ground,” UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson told The Standard-Times.

The over three-year plan for the Blue Economy is to create a strategic, regional economic plan, he said. This is to be done by first talking to all the stakeholders and brainstorming about what the region from Rhode Island to Cape Cod can become.

By next summer, the plan is to report findings on what can be done in the region. The second year will consist of writing strategic and operational plan with input. The third year will be the launch, he said.

There’s a unique opportunity right now because of the leadership that exists at UMass Dartmouth and the other players including local legislators, research institutions and businesses, Ash said. “We’re trying to catalyze that opportunity by bringing us all together,” he told The Standard-Times.

While Massachusetts is known for tourism and fishing, Ash said, “The Blue Economy is much more than that.”

In front of the larger audience of stakeholders and local legislators, Ash said to Johnson “I want to thank you for rallying us all together, I want to thank you for being the inspirational leader you are.” He also said he was impressed with Johnson’s understanding of how to take a strength of an institution and turn it into a national leader, as he did with Becker College. Read full article.